Taking the Trash
Used to get emptied every week, cart woke me up every Tuesday morning...
As the weekend looms, spare a thought for those unfortunates forced to, you know, deal with actual users. Perhaps buy one a beer after spending a moment with our regular On Call column. Today's tale, from a reader we'll call "Anthony", takes us back to the heady days of Britpop, the Spice Girls and Windows 95. While the rest …
They've just changed the route for our road. We used to be last, so we could put everything out on the way to work, and it would be picked up around mid-day.
Now we're first, so I had to roll out of bed this morning, and go out to the pavement in my dressing gown to put the boxes out.
No IT angle, I just needed to complain.
Our council have also started that lark, including withdrawing the green bins from offenders (which does great things for the overall recycling figures!). Part of the problem is that some households don't have anywhere to keep their bins away from the roadside so passers-by who can't be arsed to take their litter home just dump in any bin they pass so householders are being blamed for stuff they didn't put into the bin.
A smack head carefully removed the biodegradable food waste bags from our food recycling bin, left out overnight for the morning collection, and had a crap in it, later placing the bags back. (A smack 'ed turd is easily identifiable, by its huge length and girth, think salami, and that's not an overstatement. No wonder they use Heroin)
On emptying, the collectors carefully manoeuvred the turd back into the bin and dumped it back on the pavement, where I then later discovered it.
The following week the collectors smashed the bin into pieces, as they evidently got fed up of playing ping pong with the anonymous turd, which by now was almost indistinguishable from the rotting remnants of last weeks grittles.
Such a shame that public servants are refusing to take shit from the public any more, but in my defence, my domestic grade toilet lacked the capacity to deal with the problem effectively.
A smack 'ed turd is easily identifiable, by its huge length and girth, think salami, and that's not an overstatement.
That answers a 30 year conundrum! Back when I was in college halls of residence, now and then there were these ginormous deposits which would not disintegrate in short order and traverse the s-bend.
There was one resident whose room stank of weed - the cleaner used to open the door and go in with an air freshener on full blast when doing his room.
ah someone else who enjoys the fine services of Kirklees!
they have a new game now; a clever system to load the route into a tablet in the cab because, well after 20 years the bloke in the cab can no longer remember the route (I assume), the issue is that the full route doesn't load but the sending system says it all data has gone so when you ring up to complain you are basically called a liar.
If only there was a way for the receiving system to check it has received all of the data.
Around here if you put yours out the night before, they fine you for contributing to a potential bear problem. Because they couldn't be arsed to create bins that unlock when the "automated" truck picks it up, and instead depend on the punters manually unlocking them when they get put out.
"I put mine out last night because it arrives at around 6am."
We used to have something similar - but quite such an un-earthly time - which meant that the empty bin could be removed from the gateway to get the car out. Now it's quite unpredictable. The bin needs to be left out overnight just in case but there's a distinct probability that the car has to be manoeuvred round it in the morning because it's still full.
Gulls are smart. They know where to find food, can learn from other gulls and can even pass on helpful little tips to their micro-gullets. They have also learned that, contrary to millions of years of Darwinian programming, humans are not allowed to harm them.
They would be wonderful and fascinating creatures were they not such dangerous, evil little bastards.
The best defense against pushbikes on pavements, is a deft jab with a walking cane/cross country ski stick, at the front wheel.
Thanks. Thanks very much. Thus forcing us to ride in the traffic, where motorists have an even more homicidal approach to us.
Try to appreciate the bloke on the bike is just trying to stay alive and relatively uninjured, and (with a bit of luck) not too out of pocket for bicycle repairs. Is that too much to ask?
Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 prohibits ‘wilfully riding’ on footpaths, which refers to the path at the side of a carriageway. The original law from 1835 doesn’t refer to bicycles or cyclists (as bicycles weren’t in such common use in England as they are today) and it doesn’t mention pavements - as this is a modern word. However, the interpretation is clear - it’s not legal for a cyclist to ride their bike on the pavement. The Highway Code also states: “You must not cycle on a pavement.”
The offence of riding a bike on the pavement is punishable by an on-the-spot fine, a fixed penalty notice of £30. This is charged under Schedule 3 and Section 51 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.
But they never do. My local stretch of footpath along the A406 is like a kind of shooting gallery.
As it happens I don't actually mind the cyclists so much.
I do mind that they often come shooting along as if there were no bends, narrow bits or err pedestrians.
And I'm sick to the back teeth of the ones who do that and object and get really aggressive if they meet a pedestrian. Those are the ones who think they have a divine right to cycle where they like.
It's a footpath not a cycle path and it's not their right of way.
My route went the other way round, now instead of putting it out the night before, SWMBO drags it down as she leaves for work.
Although TBH, it often till hasnt been emptied by the time I return from work.
Fortnightly collections dont save ANY money; it takes just as long and the lorries have to drive just as far, if not further, as they have to stop and do an extra 40 mile round trip to the tip mid-collection, as the lorries arent big enough for 2 weeks worth of rubbish.
It is all a con.
I once bought a Council flat. My first house purchase. We got it dead cheap because of "right to buy" and that nice P.M. lady.
No, not *her*, the other one.
OB-IT-Bit: we had a P.C. in it and it had a modem. I *loathed* that screeing tortured robot noise so I found out how to mute it.
I was one of several software authors who wrote a 'trash can' desktop application for windows 3.x . Mine looked like a toilet. Made a flushing sound when you emptied it. Simple, really, and the '95 trashcan basically worked like mine did minus the flushing sound [naturally I often changed the icons to match mine in the '9x versions].
(the 'full' icon has green water)
As I recall, you right-clicked the icon for the menu to empty it or restore a file, like all of the others.
Soon after I first started started seeing home users, I remember visiting someone who had their Outlook Express email set to be stored in
I think I deleted it as their C: drive had 0 bytes free. Oops - a lesson learned about never deleting *anything* without a backup or double checking every folder.
You would have loved one of the PC builds I had to endure, then. Everything was supposed to be stored on the network, so some genius decided to lock the thing right down so that the only place you could write to on the local machine was the temp directory.
Didn't stop people storing files locally. Just had to do it under temp...
After the company I worked for merged with (was taken over by) another company the head of IT changed. New bloke who is more of a manager than a real IT type wants to make staff store everything on a network drive to allow for hot desking. He therefore instructs all the machines locked down. Users will not be able to store anything on a local drive at all. There was a rule that no personal data/files were to be stored on the network. This meant users were now seriously restricted compared to what had gone on before. However if you used a particular software package if you didn't have local storage it didn't work. He was perplexed as to why we were getting so many support calls regarding this as he'd personally certified that all the software was suitable.
He'd used most things elsewhere and done the same trick but had evidently got lucky. A joke email that went round suggested buying him a copy of windows for dummies. As this was really something a lot of people used the machines were required to have local access. That buggered up his hotdesking plans.
What we did, was add a folder on the desk top called "Storage" which went to their network share. It was hammered into them in training that any files, etc. they wanted to save went to the "Storage" folder. We also hammered that "Recycle Bin" was actually Trash...look at the icon. We still has some that used the bin for storage but they didn't last long. If users can't do simple things like that, then they should be non-users was manglements position. Worked pretty well.
I recall that I once created a bitmap image (set as wallpaper) that broke up my desktop into separate labelled sections and I used to put my icons into them, made it really easy to find everything.
One day a 'manager' came by, noticed my desktop layout, and started bollocking me for installing non-approved software (i.e. some sort of desktop manager). Fucking idiot.
Oddly enough it was this experience that allowed me to fix a mate's PC when it got 'infected' once. Apparently everyone who had tried to fix it before-hand had failed, they couldn't even close the text box that had popped up to tell him of the virus. I immediately got suspicious and checked the wallpaper settings and remove it. When said mate came back to PC he noticed I had 'fixed' the problem and was actually offended when I told him what it was - to the point where he didn't even thank me - ungrateful twat that he was.
I had to explain to a user who, upon "losing lots of emails", that storing them in the trash folder of the email client was not a good way to file to things. When she complained I took a load of papers off her desk, put them in the bin next to it and asked her if she expected them to still be there tomorrow? She quickly realised that storing things in a bin was a bad idea...
Microshaft is too invested in things like political correctness. If there were a MORE politically correct term than 'reycle bin' they would have used it. But hey, I wrote the 'toilet' trashcan for 3.x and I typically use the icons and name on later windows desktops. One of my requests during the '95 beta program was to be able to change the icons and name and MS actually DID things like that for the beta tests back then...
In Mate the default name is 'Trash'. Same things apply [icons, change name] except you might have to create a theme for the icons...
(my windows 7 box uses the toilet icons and a profane term for a toilet as the name)
This reminds me of a support call I took a couple of decades ago. One of the products we sold was a long forgotten E-mail client that was an optional extra to the equally forgotten E-mail system.
The vendor had released a new Windows version which was very, very buggy, with a tendency to crash with 'Assertion Failed' errors at an inopportune moment when processing any rule that worked under the previous version. It was obvious that this software had shipped months, if not years, before it was ready.
I took a call from one client who had a site running the French translation of this client, which was failing to empty the wastebasket folder. Odd, because the underlying mail API just moved waste mail into a dedicated folder on the server, and a configurable job would run on the server at a set time (usually 3 a.m.) and empty every wastebasket at once. Obviously the new version of this mail client now did wastebasket handling too, and somehow that was also broken.
After a bit of fiddling, we discovered that this French translated client had two wastebasket folders, named 'Corbeille' and 'Poubelle'. Mail got moved into one folder when deleted, but the automatic rule for emptying the wastebasket operated on the other one! If errors like that happen, no wonder the software was terrible.
well, the fact that you can change the name might have something to do with NOT being sued, but that's really just the kind of non-critical "thing" these people sue one another over, so, meh...
I'm using Mate on FreeBSD at the moment, and installed it all a couple of months ago, so maybe the default Linux theme calls it something else?
it's also possible I renamed it to 'Trash' and forgot... on the other box it's 'Trash' and I copied the 'home' dir when I built the new machine... so now I'm wondering what it was when I first installed it.
The whole concept makes no sense. The fact that so many users completely misunderstand it rather proves the point.
Either you want to delete a file or you don't. A recycle bin doesn't really give you any more of a chance to change your mind than an "are you sure" type message. When (if) people get to empty it, how many actually look to see what's there?
> A recycle bin doesn't really give you any more of a chance to change your mind than an "are you sure" type message.
Of course it does. 'Are you sure?' and any other annoying boxes that appear on screen (such as error messages) only appear to interrupt users and must be dismissed as quickly as possible without reading them, let alone thinking about what it is asking.
Can you help me. An error message popped up.
What did it say?
I don't know. I just clicked it to make it go away.
Did you not read it?
No. So can you help me?
But I need to know what it said. It's very important to know what it asked.
I'm sure it's about my email, they have not come in for days since I unpluged the telephone.
"I'm sure it's about my email, they have not come in for days since I unpluged the telephone."
reminds me of when we had a power cut following a lightning strike on our substation - it was a BIG site - and the power was brought back up in sections. I had a very stroppy call from someone in the VERY IMPORTANT category (well he thought he was) demanding I fix his computer.
"is the power on?" I asked
"How the **** should I know? I don't have time to deal with that kind of rubbish that's your problem"
"Are your lights working?"
"no, whats that got to do with anything? Just fix my **** computer (insert foul mouthed ranting here)"
"well your power is still off, it wont work"
"But the telephone is working.....!"
"'Are you sure?' and any other annoying boxes that appear on screen (such as error messages) only appear to interrupt users and must be dismissed as quickly as possible without reading them, let alone thinking about what it is asking."
Agree 100% I've had users in the past (and not so long ago) who merrily clicked through all the warning "are you sure" pop ups and deleted vast swathes of data. They then come to the hapless IT bod shouting that some idiot has deleted ALL THEIR FILES. Luckily the weekly recycle bin emptying hadn't run yet.
Mind you I've had users who somehow manage to delete gigabytes of stuff from the server. I've let them sweat a while after I ran the restore :)
It was all due to the earlier versions of W95 calling it "trash can". Buto somebody up top heard recycling was cool and trendy, so they renamed it to "recycle bin". That kinda steered the users into thinking it didn't store the stuff you'd dispose of, but that you'd use for something else.
naw, we get nearly everything out of the ground, including the 1's and 0's [silicon], so let's just put it back into the ground where we FOUND it !!! (but in a landfill). At least we're not like *animals* who dump their flop 'wherever' and leave trails.
(so what if it's a little altered after we're done with it, shouldn't matter)
I once had a piece of software which was supposed to protect against accidental deletion; attempting to delete files moved them to the Recycle Bin instead. I soon disabled it when I found that it was also protecting me against deliberate, intentional deletion; even files deleted using Shift+Del, or files deleted from within a DOS prompt, got "recycled"...
"I went to Egypt and it was brilliant. I saw lots of funny little pictures carved into stone and painted on walls. I also enjoyed the mummified crocodiles. But I never saw their ancient TFT screens."
Sounds like a visit to certain parts of any big city but without the crocs:-)
I will agree with your post because my screen reader tends to mangle mashed together words into an unrecognizeable mess.
"Login" sounds like low+gin whereas "log in" sounds like log in. "Mashup" sounds like mah+shup whereas "mash up" sounds like mash up. It's why I resort to capitalizing the first letters of any concatinated words that I write, it causes my 'reader to annunciate the words as if they had been separated by a space.
The other day when folks were discussing how to shut down a computer & everyone was using "winkey" to mean the Windows key, I had to stop laughing because my 'reader kept saying "winky" & I wondered why everyone was happy to be playing with themselves. "Winkey" sounds like winky, where WinKey sounds like Win & key. I had to character step through the word to realize that you all meant the Windows key & not your JohnThomas. XD
As a very junior programmer at the time, I had been taught to explicitly show spaces on coding forms* as an upside down triangle. Low and behold when I used this notation on a used guide for one of the first PC applications I built I got a very confused call from the end user who has spent an hour trying to find the key on the keyboard.
*Programmers were notoriously bad typists back than and it was deemed cheaper and more efficient to employ data entry clerks who would type in the code on our behalf
"t was deemed cheaper and more efficient to employ data entry clerks who would type in the code on our behalf"
I don't know about your experience but in the days when I used coding sheets it was because data entry was via humongously expensive card punches and nobody was going to give a programmer one of those each. Although, being a university, when the data entry ops. had gone home we could use them in the evening.
Yep. ICL-ers used an upside-down triangle for the same thing.
I was taught to slash letter O to make it look greek and distinguish it from number 0, but stylistically I preferred to slash number 0s.
There was always a five line cover on my coding sheet stacks to show which conventions I was using to tell 0/O I/1 Z/2 G/9 or G/6. To this day I slash zeroes and Zs and put really long tails on Gs. Looks ugly, but I wrote so many coding sheets it sorta stuck.
Of course, the main advantage for a young male programmer to having a punch pool onsite was that the staff were universally female and for the most part young - this was the sort of job most people would even in those days regard as short-term.
Whenever the ranting of a PHB was getting one down, a quick trip across the punch room to "remind the operators to wrote protect a tape" was always a welcome distraction.
Of course, the corollary of the "most part young" is that the senior staff were for the most part older and best described as of the "battleaxe" persuasion. The trick was to take one's constitutional during the Managerial tea break.
Damn right it was cheaper and more efficient, as none of us could type to save our lives, and those who typed on our behalf did so with wondrous speed and accuracy, and were able to chat away amongst themselves as they did it.
Ah, the bygone thrills of a dip in the typing pool....
Oh don't argue Doctor Syntax. Don't you know we are in a post-fact world now and everything about our youth is being re-historified according to "everyone knows" by "too lazy to find out"?
I tried correcting someone here last year who claimed it took 50 lines of Cobol (or some similar ridiculous number) to emulate a shell echo, and before that there was the chap who thought those huge teaching sliderules you see hanging in some casual dining restaurants these days were actually that big "to increase accuracy" rather than to be seen from the back of the classroom. Seems he'd seen pictures of a Mural Quadrant from the 1600s and put 2 and 2 together in the absence of any working knowledge of how to use a slide rule ...
History may well be written by the victor, but it is doomed to be rewritten on Teh Intarwebz by those too lazy to do some real legwork and crack a book or two.
It is not used in the bible. https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/lo-and-behold.html
As quoted, the closest that you get: "And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir."
The bible has a lot of things said twice. It's religious.
It isn't quite the same thing, I suppose. Sherlock Holmes told John Watson, "You see, but you do not observe." And indeed, you can look and not see. You search your desk for something that sits in the middle of it the whole time. Maybe not everyone does this...
Being as how neither "lo" nor "behold" are actually Hebrew words the presence of either in the Bible would really have given theologists something to think about.
As to what the King James version of the Bible contains, mentioned in that link - that is the King James version of the Bible. The clue is in the name.
I have Dyslexia and my Mum worked as a proof reader, so when windows 95 came out and I was doing GCSE course work, I was lectured about every one of these little grammar rules. Once I reached college I realized the staff all had worse grammar than me and spell check helped me with the rest, so didn't let her near my work again.
The last time I looked, "burglar" was an ancient noun, but without a verb. Around 1890, both British and U.S. English formed a verb, but America got "burglarize" and Britain got "burgle".
In the latest issue of "Marvel Action Spider-Man", Spider-Man uses the word "burgle", and his team mates (Ultimate Spider-Man and Ghost Spider) challenge this. All the characters and the credited writer, Delilah S. Dawson, are American, so I don't know what happened here. It may be addressed next month, since in this telling they all go to the same high school and are interns at the Daily Bugle newspaper - and their English may be scrutinised in either venue.
...My reading choices are my own affair.
The last time I looked, "burglar" was an ancient noun, but without a verb.
The verb is "burgle". Someone who burgles is a burglar. What more do you need?
It is strange, though, that (according to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary) the word "burglar" has been around since the mid 16th Century, but "burgle" only since the mid 19th ... but if the word "burgle" did not exist when you last looked you're probably the oldest person here!
I think it's called "back formation", where people think that Word A needs to exist and to produce Word B, but it isn't so. For instance, Word A being, "to burgle", and Word B being the answer to the question, "Who burgles" - a burglar. But that isn't where Word B came from. It could be someone's name, Burgla presumably, and anyone else who behaves like Burgla did is called "Burglar". Yes, I am doing it too.
About a week after installing a Win95 PC in an office we got a call back. It took me a few minutes to work out the problem, they'd set white text on a white background.
Back in the office another 95 fail was hitting "Print" before saving your work. The printer light would flash and after a long wait Windows would crash and nothing got printed :(
Luckily for me, I started on Windows 3 (->3.11 wfw) where the Ctrl-S keyboard combination became an enforced habit. Especially prior to printing. Most Win95 users soon got into the same habit before too long too...
It's a habit that I still have and it still saves me. That along with doing a Save-As before I start making any changes to a document that I am copying.
I teach seniors to 'handle' computers. The very first thing on opening any create work document (word processor, spreadsheet, notepad etc,) is to get them to save the blank document to a 'relevant file name' then and only then proceed with then creating their work. And 'in case of fire' ,click save and run! (or rather amble with walking sticks),
Given the woeful networking functions in Win95, an awful lot of organisations plumped for netware over the top of Win95. Many folks got frustrated by the "lock down" of permissions; although interestingly you could bypass the lot by hammering escape at appropriate points in the boot cycle.
One could have always gone NT of course, but then software choices were in those dark days rather limited.
Alternatives weren't a lot better of course. V. expensive proprietary unix, or OS/2. Still begrudge that Amiga never made inroads to serious computing outside of the Graphics world.
A few years back I replaced a DOS system with a new system with a GUI. The context is industrial automation, where upgrade cycles are in the multi-decades, so yes, things that run on DOS are still around.
One of the operators was utterly unable to perform a double click. He would grab the mouse firmly, click on the left button with such impetus that the entire mouse would slide off the control he was attempting to double click, hold the button down for well over half a second, release the button, then physically lift the mouse by a centimeter or so, and finally slam it back on the table while clicking the button again.
I tried to show him how to use a mouse for a while, then I gave up and added a keyboard shortcut.
Hmmm, that might well count as an actual disability. If the user can't learn, they have essentially the same need as Granny Arthritic who just finds it too physically painful.
If presented with such a luser @work, my thoughts would turn to whether an alternative device like a trackball might serve?
Not necessarily. Some people are so used to toggle switches that mouse button action isn't in their muscle memory, and it takes a while to learn basic mousing. A good exercise is to get them to put their hand flat on the table and tap out a rhythm with their index finger, as it demonstrates the type of action required.
I think it took my Mum about a year to grasp the double click. I may even have gone into her Windows settings and slowed down the click interval required for the pooter to recognise it as a double click. She's fine with it now.
Drag and drop on the other hand...
But then I struggle to do that on one of those horrible track pads on laptops, so I suppose I can't really blame her.
"A good exercise is to get them to put their hand flat on the table and tap out a rhythm with their index finger, as it demonstrates the type of action required."
Also the primary reason Solitaire and Mines were in pretty much every release of Windows since at least 3.0. (were either in the full version of 1.0 or 2.0? I only saw 1.0 as a runtime for Pagemaker and can't remember what 2,0 looked like)
back in the Win3.11/Win95 days, I used to try and train the staff to use the terminals and windows terminal emulators. So, one user, the senior auditor, I asked to start the 7561 terminal to connect to the ICL-VME system.
"so, use the mouse to move the pointer over the little picture - which we call an icon - of the 7561 terminal, then double-click on the left button"
the senior auditor picked up the mouse, used his middle finger under the mouse to roll the wheel and move the pointer, then double clicked like it was a TV remote control.
He's never seen anyone use a mouse before.
Don't joke about it. I used to be a teacher and once failed to prevent on-screen spelling correction with Tippex. Child (thick as two short planks, although I am being very unfair to timber) had been told (by an English teacher) that spelling mistakes should be tippexed out and a correction written in neatly, then (unfortunately by me) that a red, squiggly, line on the screen meant a spelling mistake....
… the rest, as they say, is history....
Fortunately in the days of CRT monitors, so a razor blade removed the evidence cleanly.
Icon, because that was one of the final straws which got me out of the teaching profession....
Many moons ago I was documenting a CAD program that had been migrated from a terminal UI to a graphical UI.
One icon that had me confused looked like a pair of cat footprints. .. turns out it was Pause (Paws).
I can't remember if it was changed after I pointed out that there may be problems when it came to translating to French or German.
> One icon that had me confused looked like a pair of cat footprints. .. turns out it was Pause (Paws).
Given the level of language pedantry so far in the comments, I'm sure you'll all appreciate:
Q. What's the difference between a cat and a sentence?
A: One has claws at the end of its paws, while the other has a pause at the end of its clause.
Also, why is the recycle bin grey and not green?
Because Microsoft, being the hard up bunch of cash strapped tightwads that they are, used non-UV stable green pixel colours for the recycle bin greens and these faded in the glorious light of the new Operating Systems features.
Something like that anyway. Is it beer o'clock yet?
Ah the heady days of yore.
Got a call from an opthalmologists office. Turned out their HP inkjet printer died and I was to install a new printer.
OS was OS/2 Warp.
Got the printer installed and checked that everything was fine and working. Did a reboot and then noticed a shedload of windows and templates and other arb stuff still open after boot, and that some stuff was not right.
By default OS2 autostarts everything that was open at the time of shutdown. This was duly fixed, and people was glad to have the pc snappy and responsive again.
Came back at a later stage, and installed the last warp fixpack (warp3) and it was even better then. Glad it went off without a fubar.
It was some controller for machinery to check eyes.
Apple had the trash icon. It seemed to work, and people understood it.
OS/2 had the shredder. Not very forgiving, but you knew damn well what you were doing when you dragged something to it. I think there were add-ons you could download so it'd drip animated blood.
Recycling? I remember thinking they'd tried to stretch the analogy too far. Too open to interpretation. But that was about the height of the time when Microsoft assumed everybody thought like them and would use a computer like them...
It wasn't functionality that MS lost on - it was the likeness of the icon. It was a very small win for Apple in an otherwise massive loss in a look and feel lawsuit. I still feel they could have come up with a better analogy for the "data goes away and doesn't come back" icon.
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I remember this - definitely a Lotus product, I had it on my Windows machine
The Mac we had in the office had an extension that had Oscar from Sesame Street pop up out of the Trash singing, "Oh, I love trash."
Apparently parents lost lots of important files because their children were left alone and found they liked to make Oscar sing!
I based my purchase decision of Windows 95 on the basis of their advertising which clearly stated "Start me up, and I'll never stop". Having installed Windows95 I discovered that it had a "shutdown" feature that was literally built into the start menu. Their advertising was clearly misleading and I intend to start a class-action against them asking for recomponse of several $100 for ever person who had watched a Windows 95 advert before buying a copy as they were clearly lied to.
... someone I know (in their 50s like me) was recently working in the stock control offices of a large chain store where their systems were still based on DOS! (she said it was DOS but I suspect it may have been a command line based terminals runnig on a central "mainframe" somewhere else) She was the only person there who had ever used DOS and all the younger people were completely confused when they were first introduced to the system as they had zero comprehension of the idea of a "command line" and couldn't understand how a computer could work without a mouse and graphics!
I've had a similar shocker, only a few years ago - where you expect most employed people to have a certain literacy with computers and IT (its on the Job Spec, right??)
Anyway, i had a call from a person attempting to VPN in from home - long story short, I got hte point of asking if their Internet was OK, router plugged in etc....
Then it came,,,,the answer, "Yeah, the "thingy" is plugged in but i pressed the button to turn the annoying lights off"
I nearly wept....
That's how long my old Compaq with Windows 95 lasted, I even upgraded it to have 16 MB of ram. Sadly Compaq computers had the bios on the hard drive so once it finally died the computer was a goner.
By comparison, my HP Media Center Windows XP laptop only lasted 9 years before the video card was a goner. And my Lenovo laptop with Windows 10 killed the hard disk in a year and a half.
I used to work for a company that installed Windows networks into GP surgeries. We'd go in and install the kit and give the staff a quick whiz round the desktop before the proper training took place.
This was at a time when personal computers were quite rare in people's homes so the staff weren't particularly familiar with Windows.
I will never forget the female receptionist who was quite happy moving the mouse pointer from left to right by moving the mouse from left to right but couldn't understand why the pointer didn't move up the screen when she lifted the mouse off the desk...
I worked for a company that *replaced* those original GP Windows machines. Yea gods, they weighed a ton. Being surgeries, I had the opportunity to put one on the scales. 30 lbooyd kg! Three of 'em weighed more than me.
A couple of weeks later the suspension in my car went from the weight of ferrying them back to the depot.
The "recycle bin" and "folders" were a way of changing the culture of computing to make it more friendly to companies like Microsoft. On the surface they were mimicking the sorts of things you'd do in a pre-computing office but in fact they were systematically removing users from the actual structure of the machine. (Apple are as bad or worse, of course.)
The result is that once you get to a truly modern system you can't actually find anything unless you use the indexing and utilities provided by the OS vendor. This has the rather pernicious effect of locking software developers into their OS because they don't work with files and filesystems directly but work through the OS supplied APIs.
"they were systematically removing users from the actual structure of the machine"
How do you represent an inode to a user?
The whole of computer programming from the introduction of the symbolic assembler onwards has been to provide higher and higher levels of abstraction, away from the actual structure of the machine to concepts more meaningful to the user (including the programmer).
Or Shift or Tab,
I find several users who when logging on press Caps Lock then the first letter of their first name (Me, silently "use Shift, use Shift"), then Caps Lock then the rest of their name then Caps Lock and the first letter of their second name then Caps lock then the rest of their second name. This is because it doesn't work unless their user name has capitals (Me silently gritting teeth: "Yes it does")
Then...pick up the mouse, eventually get the pointer to the Password field (Me: Use TAB!!!)
Then back to the keyboard: Caps Lock on, first letter of password.......
Not mobile devices, because they don't have such an obvious caps lock. And it pre-exists that anyway.
There are a lot of people who just don't get the idea of a shift key. I think it's the idea of using two keys together. It's point and peck typing. One finger at a time hitting one letter at a time.
Caps lock-tap L-caps lock tap i k e space tap t h i s .
I never objected to the school ICT curriculum and have serious doubts about all this coding for the same reason as my doubts about every lad doing woodwork when I was a kid - very few have the aptitude or future pathway that makes this a priority.
BUT I did object to the lack of basic keyboard teaching in the curriculum.
And even when I was at school myself in the 70s this was becoming an issue. And would have been more use to more of us than bloody wood and metal fucking work too. How many times have I used a lathe in the last 40+ years? 0 A plane, once or twice and not very well because it's a skill you lose quite quickly.
A saw, over those 40 years? a few dozen times maybe.
Which almost certainly goes for 90% of the population.
Some basic DIY skills and how to use a keyboard were more important than making a dovetail fucking joint even in 1970. Knowing how to change a tap washer, put a hook onto a hollow wall or change a fucking fuse would be a damned sight more useful
You would have been incredibly far-sighted in the 1970s (I've added the 19- to remind us all that it was last century, and quite some time ago at that (eeek)!) to have even imagined, let alone foreseen, that computer typing skills (let alone typewriting skills, which was surely at that time "a women's job") would become a necessity for many/most of us, more so than "practical" handicraft skills.
With the benefit of hindsight (and the disbenefit of our ageing memories), it's easy to forget just how rapid the technological pace of change was in the 80s and 90s.
Not only that, but the odds of most/all of us dying in a nuclear war by 1990 seemed just as likely as any other outcome. (Spoiler: Fortunately that changed, and also surprisingly rapidly, too.)
Due to my choice of subjects for 'O' Level, the options for a remaining timeslot were History, Geography or... Typing. I chose the latter as I thought at the time it would be a useful skill. This was 1982/3. I was the only male in the class!
A bit out of practice in terms of touch typing at speed, but the basic skill is still paying dividends after 35 years
"I find several users who when logging on press Caps Lock then the first letter of their first name (Me, silently "use Shift, use Shift"),"
I am a hasty and inaccurate typist, so I hit the Caps Lock often when I intend to hit just Shift. I removed the Caps Lock button on one keyboard (unfortunately my current one doesn't have that option). Why is there such an unhelpful button right near one that is often needed? Yes, I am not a techie, why do you ask?
You can disable caps lock Google it e.g.
or various Tweaking apps will do it.
And don't worry. Everyone does. Putting it next to the " a" key means that typing ND SO instead of and so or similar is really common.
So there I am in the venerable NHS catering department (outsourced) and one of the clerical staff say that they like the idea of recycling and thoroughly support Microsoft bringing recycling to the computer. Much better to recycle than delete as its more environmentally friendly.
For once I was utterly speechless – thankfully.
This reading has enthralled me (I had forgotten OS/2). My lunch has gone cold and stale and I am being accused of being a 'screen-addict'. The Register is to blame for many "wasted hours" but also many tips and lessons. Hope age allows me to remember the lessons.
"Don't know anything about computers"
Those announcing this are really telling you they aren't prepared to put in the mental effort required to learn and want spoonfeeding. I'm normally quite patient, and sometimes those who learn just a little but are disproportionately confident, make a bigger mess - but the pride when they tell you this can really get up my nose...
"Didn't know you could right-click" (repeatedly, *EVERY* *SINGLE* *TIME* I mention it)
Aaaarrrghhhhh... [repeatedly bashes head against wall]
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